Haleform Hailu of INSA Ethiopia discusses Ethiopia’s efforts to counter cybercrime. Click here to read the full report.
The advent of ICTs in general and the internet in particular is transforming the global economy’s focus from one centered on industry to one based upon knowledge and information. These transformations have dramatically changed the way people live and do business, and have paved the way for the emergence of the information society.
While these technological advancements have brought about numerous opportunities, they have also opened the door for unprecedented criminal activities. Cybercrime is an increasingly important concern for policy makers, businesses, and citizens alike. Due to ICT growth, citizens, business, and governments are exposed to new and sophisticated risks. No country is safe from the threat of cybercrime; therefore, combating cybercrime is a key strategic objective for governments.
Ethiopia has embraced ICTs as a key enabler of social and economic development. As a result, Ethiopia is seeing a growth in ICTs and internet-enabled infrastructures. Though not yet fully integrated into all aspects of life, the use of ICT and ICT-supported services are embraced by individuals, the government, and businesses in throughout the country. Various efforts are currently underway to significantly increase internet connectivity speeds and access. Huge investments by the Ethiopian government into ICTs and a potentially huge user base (Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous country) have placed the country in a position to become an African ICT hub.
Greater bandwidth will not only mean faster and better internet access but also more opportunities for criminals to launch cyberattacks and to exploit naïve users. The pervasiveness of mobile phones throughout the country, the introduction of new services, including mobile money and ATMs, will also provide new opportunities for cybercriminals.
Ethiopia is not immune to the threat of cybercrime, however, there is no consolidated report that shows the exact prevalence and impact of cybercrime in the country and to what extent the Ethiopian information society is vulnerable. A key reason for this lack of information is that companies and individual users do not report cybercrime incidents, do not keep organized records, and are often unaware that they have been targeted by cybercriminals.
As with any other type of crime, every country undertakes its own measures and strategies to address the evolving challenges posed by cybercrime. Some countries, however, lack adequate resources with which to fight cybercrime. How has Ethiopia prepared itself to address cybercrime?
This report explores Ethiopian efforts and initiatives to counter cybercrime from three cyberspace governance perspectives: cyber security-related policies and strategies, legislative frameworks, and institutional arrangements. The report also provides recommendations on how appropriate plans and measures can be implemented to ensure a safer and more secure Ethiopia.
Click here to read the full report.
Halefom Hailu is a cyber law and policy researcher at Information Network Security Agency (INSA) Ethiopia. He has LLB in law (Mekelle University, Ethiopia) and LLM in Information Technology and Telecommunications Law (University of Southampton, UK).